The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission to Gaza: Breaking the Illegal Siege

Global Research Editor’s
Note

The following text recounts how the Gaza siege was almost
broken by a lone humanitarian ship.

What the Spirit of Rachel Corrie
achieved, its crew and passengers, constitutes an outstanding act of courage and
determination, taking the Israeli Navy totally by surprise.

Global
Research’s Julie Lévesque participated in this mission to Gaza organized by the
Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF). This is her vivid account of the Spirit
of Rachel Corrie mission, pertaining to the day by day life on the ship,
recounting in detail the actions of those who, acting in solidarity with
Palestine, put their life in danger with a view to breaking the illegal Israeli
siege of Gaza.

On May 16, 2011, when the Spirit of Rachel Corrie entered
Palestinian waters undetected and was attacked by patrol boats of the Israeli
Navy, the Western media in chorus decided not to cover this pathbreaking
event…

Michel Chossudovsky, August 7,
2011


 

“The Navy has prevented and
will continue to prevent the arrival of the ‘hate flotilla’ whose only
goals are to clash with IDF soldiers
, create media provocation and to
delegitimize the State of Israel,” –
Israel Navy commander Adm.
Eliezer Marom warning to the Gaza flotilla organizers (Anshel Pfeffer, Israel Navy commander: ‘Hate flotilla’ to Gaza must be
stopped
, Haaretz.com June 19, 2011)

The Simon Wiesenthal
Centre has published a list of people who are classified as anti-Semitic
in 2010. I am listed among the top 10. I suppose what I had said in 2010 is
regarded by the Jewish [Wiesenthal] Centre as slurs but I was merely exercising
my right to free speech to speak up against what I considered as injustice. I condemned Israel for breaking
international laws
, carrying out an illegal siege of Gaza, attacking
and seizing the Mavi Marmara and the Rachel Corrie in international
waters
, killing nine Turkish aid workers, and continuing to
deprive the suffering people of Gaza of medical supplies, construction
material and food
.” (Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, The Anti-Semitic, Former
Prime minister of Malaysia, December 24, 2010)

Click here for the first part of this article: The Blockade Runners Part I

The idea of sending flotillas
to Gaza originally came from former Malaysian Prime Minister and Perdana Global
Peace Foundation’s (PGPF) founder Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. For decades now he
has been a very outspoken advocate of the rights of the Palestinians. Like most
people who take a firm a stand against the illegal actions of the state of
Israel, he was labelled “anti-Semitic”. This type of ad hominem attack is the
only stratagem left for those who wish to defend an illegal and immoral
occupation.

PGPF’s goal is to make war a crime. “We can not allow people
to kill and glorify killing. We need to change the mindset and reject war as a
means of settling  disputes. This is the beginning of a very long saga which
will take many years,” explained Tun Mahathir.


Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s keynote
address at the War Crimes
Conference and Exhibition in October
2009

In 2010, PGPF joined the Freedom Flotilla with the “Rachel
Corrie”. This year it decided to act alone and send its ship, the “Spirit of
Rachel Corrie” (SRC), ahead of the Freedom Flotilla II. The mission’s ultimate
goal was to “bring liberty in Gaza” and “prove to the world that Israel has no
right to impose this illegal siege”, Mahathir told the participants of the
mission about to set sail on the SRC.

In the light of the recent failed
attempt of the Freedom Flottilla II, the SRC mission can be considered a
success: it is the only ship this year to have entered Palestinan waters. Its
modus operandi should serve as an example for future attempts to break the
illegal siege of Gaza.

Humanitarian “False Flag
Operation”

May 11, 2011, a ship registered as the MV Finch flying the
Moldovan flag left the Greek port of Piraeus unnoticed. It was the Spirit of
Rachel Corrie Mission (SRC). On board were 12 crew members and passengers: 7
Malaysians, 2 Indians, 2 Irish and 1 Canadian.

Fearing that they would
be prevented to sail to their destination, the organizers of the mission opted
for a low profile rather than a big media campaign. They neither disclosed where
they were leaving  from, nor where they were going to.

It turned out to be a good idea. Unlike the
Freedom Flotilla II which was supposed to sail to Gaza, they were able to leave
the Greek port of Piraeus without any form of encroachment and sail towards
Palestine.

It should be noted that in December 2010, the
Jerusalem Post reported that a “[m]ulti-million deal [was] in the works to
sell weapons system for Hellenic Air Force
’s F-16 fleet”, and that given
Greece’s poor economy, “officials said they were seeking creative ways for
Greece to pay for the systems
”. (Yaakov Katz, Israeli defense industries in talks with Greek army,
The Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2010. Emphasis added)

The report further stated that the ties between
Greece and Israel have improved “since May’s navy raid on a Turkish flotilla”
following which, “Turkey cut off all military and political ties with Israel”.
(Ibid.)

Had the Greek authorities known of the Spirit of
Rachel Corrie’s (SRC) ultimate destination, they would have prevented it from
leaving Greek waters, as they did with this year’s “Freedom Flotilla”.

May 16, 6am. Sailing out of Egyptian waters five
days later, the SRC entered Palestinian waters undetected, to the great surprise
of Palestinian fishermen, dazed at the view of foreign passengers on a ship
waving and smiling at them.

Boats try to break the siege regularly. Not
ships.

“Palestine! Palestine!”, they yelled with
astonishment pointing at the water, probably thinking the captain was lost.

“We’re going to Gaza!” one of the passengers
yelled back. Gaza? And they started pointing in that direction, nodding, smiling
and yelling “Gaza! Gaza!”

They could not believe it.

Since everyone was soon expecting an encounter
with the Israeli Navy, that moment lightened the atmosphere on the ship. But not
for long. The ship continued its course until the passengers and crew saw two
speed boats from the Israeli Navy coming towards the ship.

“They’re coming”, said Jenny Graham, the Irish
activist. She started making a call with a satellite phone when the first
machine gun shots were fired.

Half of the passengers ran for cover in an
enclosed area on the deck. Other passengers and crew members went inside on the
bridge.

The Israeli navy contacted the captain, Abd Jalil
bin Mansor, who explained the ship was delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza and
that there were no weapons on board. He was asked to turn around. He refused.

“I’ve been instructed to go to Gaza.”

Captain Jalil Mansor explaining the route chosen to penetrate Palestinian
waters.

Meanwhile, three rounds of shots were fired.
“Welcome to my world”, said Jenny, stoic, to the people lying down beside her on
the deck.

From there, no one could see where the “warning
shots” were going or where they were coming from. Every once in a while we could
get a glimpse of the boats circling the ship.

One of the passengers was praying, the other one
had his hands up to show he had no weapons, although we were the only ones who
could see him.

Derek Graham had been through this before. He was
outside smoking a cigarette, looking straight at the man behind the machine gun
with his arms wide open, inviting him to shoot.

Seeing him, Alang Bendahara, reporter for the News
Straits Time stood up on the deck to get some footage of the boats shooting.

Then we heard the Israeli navy screaming to
the captain, “Turn around! Turn around now or we’ll shoot you!”

The captain obeyed. The ship changed its course.

Another round of shots was fired even though the
captain had followed the navy’s orders.

Then the Egyptian navy, which never noticed the
ship entering and leaving their waters, responded to repeated calls from the
Israeli navy and asked them to stop shooting. They did.

As the ship was escorted back in Egyptian waters,
the Israelis thanked the Egyptians for their cooperation on the siege and went
on firing at the tiny and vulnerable fishing boats.

As they usually do, as Jenny explained outraged.
“Our ship being shot at is going to make the news. Not the shooting of the
little fishermen boats. The sad thing is, this is their daily life!”

The SRC was kept in the waiting area of El-Arish
Port in Egypt for seven weeks. The ship tried to head back to Gaza through
Egyptian waters a week after its first attempt. As it was escorted out of
Egyptian waters by the Egyptian Navy, which had ordered the captain to head to
international waters, the ship experienced technical difficulties and was
escorted back in the waiting area in El-Arish.

During the first few days in the waiting area at the port of El-Arish,
Egyptian fishermen were
prohibited from approaching the ship. Since the
food  was running low, Derek and Satya, one
of the Indian crew
members, launched the zodiac to go buy some fish but came back empty

handed.

A few days later, fishermen were allowed to come near the MV Finch and
sell fresh fish.

Apart from the two Irish activists and Matthias
Chang, no one else on the ship had engaged in such an adventure before. Chief
engineer Zainuddin Mohamed’s reason for accepting to go on this mission was
simple: “I wanted to see for my own eyes what is going on there.” Captain Jalil
Mansor aknowledged: “I have come to a point in my career where I needed a
challenge.” Since he had military training in the past, the captain was not
intimidated by the Israeli navy’s gunfire and rather “enjoyed” his confrontation
with them.

“Honestly, I wish we had been taken by the Israelis”,
admitted one of the Malaysians who whished to remain anonymous. “Malaysia has no
diplomatic relations with Israel so it is the only way I can enter the country,
if they arrest me and take me there. I’m a little disappointed.”

Malaysian journalists Alang Bendahara from the News Straits Time and Mohd Faizal Hassan
from
Bernama.

Although they were not taken to jail, people on board the Finch
were, in a sense, imprisoned on the ship. They were not told why they were being
prevented from leaving the ship and were promised countless times that they
would be allowed to dock the next day. The Canadian embassy in Egypt confirmed
that the matter was in the hands of military intelligence and that the
Egyptian Ministery of Foreign Affairs was not the one handling the
issue.

The people on board showed tremendous solidarity for several days
by refusing to leave in small groups: it was all or nothing.

From the first day in El-Arish, the Egyptian port authorities
promised
that the ship would be allowed to dock and that the passengers
would
be allowed to disembark the next day. Leader Matthias Chang and

Chief engineer Zainuddin Mohamed after one of many broken
promises,
almost two weeks after entering Palestinian waters.

Since the ship was not allowed to dock in El-Arish, the only way to get
fresh water was to
have it delivered by tug boat in the wating area.
The heavy containers had to be carried
and emptied one by one by the people
on board. All the seafarers on board said they
had never experienced that
before.

The
original crew members and passengers were finally all allowed to leave the ship
on June 3, 18 days after they entered Palsetinian waters. Three of the
Malaysians had decided to leave on May 31. The new crew was kept in Egyptian
waters for another month. On July 6, the cargo was unloaded and delivered to
Gaza shortly after, on July 12. The cargo, however, was not delivered to Gaza
through the Rafah crossing. The cargo was brought through Karem Shalom, into
Israel.

Egyptian Promises

Since May 28, the Rafah
crossing was supposed to have been opened for people and humanitarian aid,
according to statements of the Egyptian government.

This did not happen.
The Egyptian authorities refused to let the PGPF’s humanitarian cargo go
through Rafah, even though it was humanitarian aid: UPVC pipes to restore the
sewage system in Gaza, where a water crisis is raging and which affects not only
Gazans, but neighbouring countries including Israel and Egypt.

The
destruction of the sewage system in Gaza by the Israeli army has led to 50 to 80
million liters of raw sewage being released in the
Mediterranean daily.

The SRC cargo was instead delivered through Karem
Shalom, in Israel. The cargo was considered as reconstruction material, which
Israel requires to be delivered through its illegal checkpoints. While they were
on the ship, the original 12 passengers and crew members were given that option
and had refused categorically that the cargo be transferred through Karem
Shalom, or any other Israeli checkpoint.

All crew members and passengers with a makeshift banner rejecting any
compromise to their
goal: breaking the siege. From left to right: Alang
Bendahara, Satya Prakash, Chandan Sharma,
Faizal Hassan, Jenny Graham,
Matthias Chang, Julie Lévesque, Jafri Arifin, Zainuddin Mohamed,
Jalil
Mansor, Derek Graham, Radzillah Abdulla.

The refusal of the Egyptian authorities to
allow for the shipment of the humanitarian cargo through Rafah suggests that the
interim military government is taking its orders from Tel Aviv and Washington.
While the SRC was stranded in Egyptian waters, the crew and passengers on board
were told that the ship would not allowed to dock for “security reasons”. The
matter was in the hands of Military Intelligence.

Military Intelligence is attached to the Ministry
of Defense headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman who is the
commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and de facto head of State.

In turn, Hussein Tantawi is a permanent liaison
with his counterpart in Tel Aviv, Ehud Barak, as well as with Defense Secretary
Robert Gates in Washington. (Michel Chossudovsky, BREAKING NEWS: Humanitarian Ship to Gaza is a Floating Prison:
Cairo is Obeying Orders from Tel Aviv
, May 5, 2011)

In March 2011, shortly after Mubarak was ousted
from office, a political analyst for the Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Political
and Strategic Studies stated:

“Egypt will […] take a stronger stance against
Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will play a more positive role
supporting the Palestinian cause”. (Heba Fahmy, No drastic, immediate change in Egypt’s foreign relations, say
analysts
, Daily News Egypt, March 29, 2011

The outcome of the SRC mission indicates that the
post-Mubarak Egyptian government, rather than taking a “strong stance against
Israel”, is still working hand in glove with Israel and the US. The Egyptian
people however, from navy personnel to fishermen, have demonstrated strong
support for the Malaysian mission to Gaza.

In recent developments, however, Egypt allowed a
British aid convoy called Miles of Smiles 4 reach Gaza through the Rafah crossing in late
July. Meanwhile, the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in
the Occupied Territories was allowed to enter Gaza for the first time in July,
43 years after its creation. (IPS, End blockade now, says UN group in rare Gaza visit, August 1,
2011)

The committee
condemned “the
horrible living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza and the devastating impact
of the Israeli economic blockade”, as well as the “continuing disregard of its
obligations under international law”. “The economic, educational, psychological,
health and social conditions are affected by the blockade,” stated the Sri
Lankan ambassador to the UN, adding that “Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza
contravened the human rights of the people of Gaza and international
humanitarian law and standards”. (Ibid)

Once again, a UN committee denounces Israel’s
illegal actions. Over the years though, these accusations have proven to be
useless because only the Security Council can impose sanctions on Israel and it
never has. In fact quite the opposite: Israel’s illegal actions have been
protected on numerous occasions by a US veto on UN Security Council Resolutions
critical of Israel.

Even though they are labelled by Western governments
and the UN as “useless”, humanitarian aid convoys, flotillas and lone attempts
to break the siege have had a tangible impact on the lives of Gazans.

The sewage pipes brought by the Spirit of Rachel Corrie are now in Gaza,
which is facing a major water crisis.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel issued a report
in 2010 entitled: “Humanitarian
Minimum: Israel’s Role in Creating Food and Water Insecurity in
Gaza
”. It addresses the impact of the Israeli blockade on public
health in the Gaza Strip.

It states that “watery diarrhea and acute bloody
diarrhea […] are the major causes of morbidity among the population”, and that
those disease, “according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are caused by
an unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene” (Physicians for
Human Rights Israel, Humanitarian Minimum: Israel’s Role in Creating Food and Water
Insecurity in Gaza
, December 2010, p.69)

PGPF employees Farlina Said and Maizatul Akmar Mohd Naim in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

Radzillah Abdulla from FELDA (Federal Land Development
Authority), a Malaysian governmental
organization, and Jenny Graham shortly
after leaving Greece.

Lessons from a “Humanitarian False Flag
Operation”

So far this year, the lone ship Spirit of Rachel Corrie
was the only ship to enter Palestinian waters and “put a hole” in the blockade.
Although it did not break the siege, it should be considered as a small victory
against the illegal occupant, and its strategy should be taken into account by
those who wish to break the siege in the future.

1- Favor a
media blackout
: To avoid being foiled, any attempt to break the siege should
be concealed. The media should be alerted only when the goal has been reached or
when the vessel has been prevented from reaching it. Big media campaigns may
have the advantage of shedding the light on the illegal siege, they also reveal
information which hampers the endeavor and serves the illegal occupant. The
ultimate goal of such undertakings should remain to break the siege, not
publicize it.

2- Conceal the departure location: The country of
departure should be disclosed only to those who need to know for logistic
purposes.

3- Conceal the destination: The authorities of the
country of departure should be given an alternative destination.

4-
Use deception
: The Malaysian SRC mission, or MV Finch, was flying the
Moldovan flag. The Israelis must have been aware that PGPF was sending a ship to
Gaza since it was announced by the Malaysian organization a few weeks before the
mission was launched. Only the dates were kept secret. The Israelis were
probably expecting a vessel flying the Malaysian flag.

5- Get
a fast boat or ship
: The MV Finch could not go faster than 6 nautical miles
an hour. Had it been faster, it could have reached the port
of Gaza.

Satya Prakash and Chandan Sharma, the two Indian crew members.

June 3,
2011 The last “ship prisoners” are released and join the land
team in El-Arish.

External links:

Perdana Global Peace
Foundation

Derek and Jenny Graham’s blog: Irish in Gaza
Rachel Corrie Foundation
for Peace and Justice

Julie Lévesque is a
researcher and journalist at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). She
can be reached at
crgjulie@yahoo.ca

(www.globalresearch.ca / 12.08.2011)

Israeli Troops Attack West Bank Anti Wall Protests; Three Children Injured

Ramallah – PNN – On Friday three children were injured many were treated for the effects of tear gas in halation  as Israeli troops attacked anti-wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities.

ImageProtests took place in  the central West Bank villages of  al-Nabi Salleh, Bil’in, and Nil’in in addition to  al-Ma’ssara in the southern West Bank.

Three children were lightly wounded as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al-Ma’sara, southern West Bank. As soon as people marched to the land where Israel is building the wall troops attacked people with rifle buts and batons injuring Abada Brijiyah, 11, Osama Brijiyah,9, Hareth Brijiyah,10, witnesses reported.

Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the anti-wall and settlements protests in the village of  al-Nabi Salleh.   Villagers and their Israeli and international supporters marched to local farm lands Israel had taken to build a new settlement.

Troops attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Then soldiers forced people back into the village and fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

In the nearby village Bil’in soldiers fired tear gas at the weekly protest there as internationals and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after midday prayers. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

At another location in the meantime Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protest in the village of Nil’in, villagers were joined by  Israeli and international supporters after the midday prayers and marched up to the wall. Troops fired tear gas at protesters causing many to suffer from tear gas inhalation.

(english.pnn.ps / 12.08.2011)

‘Israel prepares for clashes with Syria’

Israeli military forces are getting ready for a possible military engagement with Syria if the UN votes for an independent Palestinian state in September, a report says.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says such vote might lead to tensions with Syria, provoking the Palestinians living in Syria to storm into the occupied Golan Heights, Haaretz reported.

It warned if the Syrian army supported such an attempt, Israel would take the necessary action which would lead to a military confrontation.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has started to train its officers to deal with expected mass civilian disturbances.

Tel Aviv also plans to deploy senior officers, battalion and brigade commanders at possible confrontation zones in the West Bank, as well as along the Gaza, Syrian and Lebanese borders.

Palestinians will attempt to obtain recognition of a sovereign state when the UN General Assembly meets in September. The United States and the Tel Aviv regime remain opposed to the move.

Membership at the United Nations requires a recommendation from the UN Security Council and the approval of two-thirds of the General Assembly, equal to 128 countries.

(www.presstv.ir /12.08.2011)

Palestine is Still the Issue: The meaning of the Norwegian terrorist’s love for Israeli war crimes

Since Anders Breivik’s massacre in Norway two weeks ago, much of the Islamophobic right has been ostensibly scrambling to distance themselves from his terrorist act. English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) appeared on Newsnight pointing out that Breivik called the EDL “naïve fools” in his 1500-page political manifesto, distributed over the internet on the eve of his “martyrdom operation” (Breivik’s term). Jeremy Paxman, outrageously soft-balling, failed to point out that Breivik also said of the EDL that “although having noble intentions [they] are in fact dangerously naïve” because they did not support his particular form of violence.

Another mass killer that right-wing Islamophobic zealots around Europe have certainly not distanced themselves from is the state of Israel. Breivik himself is clearly a big fan of Israel, having a free hand to regularly slaughter Muslims as it does. His rambling online book is full of flattering references to Israel: “So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists,” he wrote, “against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists”. This is from page 1163 of his “compendium”, large chunks of which were reportedly copied from other Islamophobic sources.

Breivik’s extreme Zionism has led to some media attention on the gowning links between Israel and extreme right-wing, and fascist groups from around Europe. Die Spiegel recently ran an article on the subject (“Europe’s Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel”, 29 July). But this has been a growing trend for years now, and still not enough attention is being paid to it.

The British National Party these days of course supports Israel. Their leader Nick Griffin during this controversial 2009 Question Time appearance boasted of his support for Israel saying the BNP was now “the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full square behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists”. The EDL is notoriously pro-Israel, waving Israeli flags during their thuggish demonstrations, even establishing a (failed) “Jewish Division”.

Blogger Richard Silverstein has paid a fair amount of attention to Israel’s growing links to European fascists. He recently wrote about a visit of Russian neo-nazis to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) – a story even I couldn’t quite believe until I read past the headline (Settler MKs Welcome Russian Neo-Nazi Holocaust Deniers to Knesset, Yad VaShem, 28 July).

So what is going on here? The common denominator all these right-wing parties and groups have is of course fanatical and bigoted hostility to Muslims. Many commentators have been perplexed by Anders’ Zionism, and have tried to analyse it as if it were some sort of contradiction. But it’s not. The BNP was notorious for anti-Semitism in its past and Griffin is often accused of Holocaust denial. Breivik also clearly has some anti-Semitic ideas, implying that the German Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves: “Were the majority of the German and European Jews disloyal? Yes, at least the so called liberal Jews, similar to the liberal Jews today that opposes nationalism/Zionism and supports multiculturalism” (page 1163 again).
Zionism and anti-Semitism are not contradictory: in fact they often complement each other and have a history of alliances. Tactical synergy led to the Zionist-Nazi Ha’avara (“transfer”) agreement of the 1930s.

German Jews were allowed to remove some of their funds in the form of German-produced capital goods which were then sold in Palestine (as well as in the US and Britain), and part of this investment would then be recouped later (you can read about that in Mike Marqusee’s brilliant political memoir “If I am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew”). There was also the attempt by the Lehi terrorist group of Yitzak Shamir (later prime minister of Israel) to establish links with Hitler during Second World War.

But there are deeper ideological links between Zionism and other ethnocentric right-wing reactionary nationalist movements. They share the same goal: Hitler wanted to get rid of Jews from Europe and the Zionist movement wanted to bring as many European Jews as possible to colonise Palestine. Zionism is “united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets”, as Yasser Arafat said in his famous first speech to the UN in 1974 – “another side of the same base coin”.

To understand this seeming contradiction, we need to understand that, in a similar way to the Nazi hatred of Jews, the bile of the the Islamophobes is not based on any logical thinking or rational opposition to Islam. It is bigotry plain and simple: hatred of The Other. Whip up enough irrationality and politicians can distract you from their schemes – all while you are busy picking on the most vulnerable in society.

While the EDL weakly distances itself from Breivik’s particular form of terrorist violence, it has no qualms about using racist abuse, street violence and intimidation aimed at Muslim communities around the country. Blaming the victim, the EDL outrageously tried to lay the guilt on Muslims for Breiviks’ terrorist attack: “what happened in Norway is a wake-up call. The fact that so many people are scared – people have to listen to that,” says it’s leader (“EDL leader brands Norway gunman Anders Breivik a ‘ horrible monster’”, Evening Standard, 27 July).

At the same time, Breivik’s was clearly not some insane lone gunman, as his lawyer now claims. Read his manifesto and you can see that. It is very deliberately put together. He claims to have spend nine years compiling it, and details the whole process of the how is funded and carried out his terrorist murders. The book contains long, elaborate descriptions of how he built the bomb, and how he prepared for his “martyrdom operation” (although he survived, it appears that he had been willing to die).

It is reported that at his first court hearing Breiviks claims there are other cells of like-minded “cultural conservatives” ready and able to carry out similar attacks. This is probably another one of his fantasies – but if so (and the possibility should still be investigated) it is a calculated fantasy. He is hoping to inspire others to carry out similar acts. That is clear from the detailed instructions in his book. He seems to have spent months “email farming” on Facebook so that he would have a solid list of “nationalists in all European countries” to send is completed manifesto to.

Although the large budget he claimed to have amassed from playing the stock market means it would not be easy to imitate him, we cannot rule out the possibility he will inspire other racist fanatics.

All this only makes combating groups like the EDL, who directly and viciously build on the growing climate of Islamophobia, ever more important. The EDL says it is going to “march into the Lions den” of Tower Hamlets on the third of September. In the spirit of Cable Street, it’s vital to stop the hate-mongers in their tracks once and for all.

(www.winstanleys.org / 12.08.2011)

NEMA & LPNM Islamkamp

Tijd
zaterdag 8 oktober om 1:00 – 15 oktober om 6:00

Locatie
Cairo, Egypte


Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
Ben je bekeerd tot Islam? Wil je een unieke kans om meer te leren over je nieuwe religie, over uitdagingen voor de praktiserende moslim(a) in Europa, over Egypte en over je mede broeders/zusters uit Europa? Kom naar het Islamkamp voor bekeerlingen in Cairo. Nu met de unieke kans om ook je niet-moslim gezinsleden (vader, moeder etc) mee te nemen! Meer info en aanmelden via www.islamkamp.nl

Benefit Iftar Somalia

Tijd
zondag 28 augustus · 19:00 – 23:00

Locatie

Gemaakt door:

Meer dan 25% van de Somaliërs kampt met ondervoeding waarmee we van meer dan een noodsituatie kunnen spreken. In de huidige en jaarlijks terugkerend vastenmaand staat de eenheid en samenhorigheid van de mensheid centraal. Een eveneens belangrijk aspect is vrijgevigheid en solidariteit. De IFTAR Benefit bouwt voort op deze gedachtes. Tijdens de avond wordt stilgestaan bij de noodsituatie in Somalia en de problematiek, met als doe…l de aanwezigen aan te zetten tot het doen van donaties. Tevens betalen de aanwezigen een entreeprijs.

Diverse artiesten hebben aangegeven hun bijdrage te leveren aan de avond. Zo zullen o.a. de zanger Kamal Raja, de dichteres Najiba Abdellaoui en de cabaretgroep de Islama’s met; Rachid Larouz, Hakim Traïdia, Samir Fighil, DJ Saif, Omar Ahaddaf en Abdelfattah Ahmed Salah,  de entertainment verzorgen. Daarnaast zullen diverse sprekers zorgen voor een informatieve ondertoon. Aansluitend zal de 28ste vastendag gezamenlijk verbroken worden door het nuttigen van een IFTAR maaltijd (IFTAR is de maaltijd die wordt genuttigd om het vasten tijdens de Ramadan te verbreken). De benefit IFTAR staat echter open voor iedereen die het doel steunt.

De locatie, de catering en de artiesten leveren kosteloos hun bijdrage waarmee de gehele opbrengst van de IFTAR naar Somalië gaat.

Film review: women footballers struggle to play (and win)

 

Honey Thaljieh founded the first Palestinian women’s  national football team.

One of the greatest obstacles for Palestinian football or soccer players in
the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is simply getting to practice. Israeli
military checkpoints made practicing on a real grass pitch nearly impossible for
the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Women’s National Football Team, as accessing the
limited facilities within the West Bank between 2003 and 2009 required several
hours of travel each way for each player. The team’s struggle to play is
documented in celebrated filmmaker Sawsan Qaoud’s new film Women in
the Stadium.

Qaoud documents how the idea for a women’s team was brought to life — and
recounts the difficulties the players face on a regular basis just to play. This
is the latest in a series of films that Qaoud has made about the plight of women
living under Israeli occupation; others include Women and Elections
(2006), Bedroom (2004) and Mothers (2003).

After years of playing football with the boys but without a team to call her
own, Honey Thaljieh spearheaded the effort to start the women’s team in 2003,
and remains the side’s captain to this day. With the help of Bethlehem
University Athletics Director Samar Mousa, Thaljieh recruited several local
players, slowly building the team into an internationally-recognized football
squad with approximately twenty regular players.

Women in the Stadium highlights the stories of some of the players
who were forced to bring an untimely end to their football careers because of
the nature of Israeli military checkpoints. Even after hours of waiting at the
checkpoints, Israeli forces might simply deny entry to a player, or worse,
detain the person intent on passing through.

Under these conditions, the costs of team membership were simply too much to
bear for some players.

While checkpoints within the West Bank have posed a challenge for the team,
moving to and from Gaza is nearly possible. Since the team’s inception, the full
squad has only been able to meet on foreign soil, meeting for the first time in
Egypt just days before a tournament. Obviously, this has had a negative impact
on team cohesion.

Yet, even when the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of the occupation did
not deter the players from regular participation, almost all of the women faced
at least some social pressure to end their involvement with the team.

Social hurdles

Women in the Stadium takes a nuanced look at the challenges and joys
of being a woman footballer in Palestine. Aware that it has an important role to
play in the promotion of the women’s game, the film addresses many of the
misperceptions about gender and football that create obstacles to female
participation and succeeds in making a Palestinian story relevant for a
global audience.

International organizations, from FIFA, the global
football governing body, to the United Nations and grassroots organizations have
promoted the importance of gender equality in football. Yet perhaps more than
any other sport, the “world’s” game remains a man’s domain across the globe. As
result, many people assume that women who do play are abnormal, that they will
become “unfeminine,” or will simply not play well.

Throughout the documentary, the players prove all of these assumptions to be
blatantly wrong.

The first social hurdle for Palestine’s players usually comes in their teens
when peers and parents might begin to see football as an inappropriate way for a
young woman to spend her time. One key scene in the film features Thaljieh
visiting a teenage girls’ team where she learns that one girl’s father had
previously opposed her participation once she began wearing the hijab
(headscarf), thinking that his daughter had become too old to play. His daughter
persisted. Like many of the women on the national team, she proved that adhering
to her own standards of personal dress did not conflict with
playing football.

Marriage is another major obstacle to maintaining a full national squad
roster because even in families where the players’ participation has become
acceptable, most of the women themselves could not conceive of continuing their
careers in football after marrying — and the pressure to do so starts early.
Aware of this high rate of player turnover, the members of the current squad
recognize that the team’s survival depends on training the next generation of
Palestinian female players, meaning that many of today’s players have become
active in youth and community outreach to promote the game. The film has
captured this work at its best.

Qaoud goes out of her way to show that the players are extraordinary in their
persistence and dedication to the game and are able to remain normal, young
women who are concerned about their families, friends, school and even party
dresses. While it is deeply unfortunate that such justifications are necessary,
both the filmmaker and her subjects realize that fighting for the right of women
to play football hinges on diffusing precisely these social constructs.

Making women footballers’ voices heard

On a technical level, the documentary benefits from Qaoud’s extensive
filmmaking experience, as she laces individual interviews and group footage with
clips from the team’s actual matches. The film focuses on the narratives of four
players from diverse religious and geographical backgrounds, while giving
special weight to the story of the team’s captain.

Ultimately, the film shows that football has allowed these women to build a
family-like team. It emphasizes the players’ strong work ethic and the courage
to make choices for themselves — whether that involves football or not.

While the film’s 16 July world premiere at Ramallah’s Al-Kasaba Theatre and
Cinematheque suffered from a few minor technical problems and the English
subtitles could have used some editing, Sawsan Qaoud’s latest offering is
definitely worth a viewing, and its release at the end of the Women’s World Cup
could not have been more appropriately timed. The film is an opportunity to make
the story of the women’s national team and its players heard not only in
Palestine but also throughout the world.

(http://ht.ly/61QQw / 12.08.2011)

Britain denies entry to Israeli rabbi who advocated killing of non-Jews

U.K. Border Agency sends Rabbi Yosef Elitzur letter signed by the home secretary, informing him that he could not enter Britain for the next three years.

The U.K. Border Agency is prohibiting fundamentalist Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, co-author of the controversial book “The King’s Torah”  (“Torat Hamelech” ), from entering Britain, the Jewish Voice website reported on Wednesday.

Elitzur received a letter last month from the U.K. Border Agency, signed by the home secretary, informing him that he could not enter Britain for the next three years.

The July 20 letter, which appears on the website, cites the British law forbidding entry to anyone who writes, publishes or distributes material “fomenting or justifying terrorist violence … and seeking to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.” The book says Jews may kill gentiles, among other things.

The site says Elitzur was banned from Britain because of the book, published in 2009, and cites Elitzur’s statement, “If the Jews don’t have quiet, the Arabs won’t have quiet. If the Arabs win because of violence against the Jews, the Jews will win by violence against the Arabs.”

(www.haaretz.com / 12.08.2011)

Israel limits access to al-Aqsa Mosque

File photo of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem)
Israeli police forces have been deployed en masse to once again limit Palestinian access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) during the holy month of Ramadan.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been banned from attending the second Friday prayer event in Ramadan, Press TV reported.

Access has been denied to all men under the age of 50 and all women under the age of 45.

Palestinians have called the restrictions a “collective punishment,” and said that the movement-restrictions imposed on them have affected their economy significantly and made traveling extremely difficult.

This is not the first time that Israel limits access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Friday prayers.

During the first Friday of Ramadan (August 5), they only allowed men aged between 45 and 50 to enter the compound.

Furthermore, Israel has on several occasions attacked Palestinian worshippers inside the compound using tear gas, stun guns and rubber bullets.

Al-Aqsa is one of the holiest sites in Islam. It has been the scene of violent clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli troops in the course of the occupation of Palestinian territories by the Tel Aviv regime.

(www.presstv.ir / 12.08.2011)

Bahrainis hold mass anti-regime rally

Thousands of Bahraini anti-government protesters have poured into the streets near the capital, Manama, to demand the ouster of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

The mass rally is reported to be organized by Bahrain’s influential opposition bloc, al-Wefaq.
Recently released former opposition lawmakers also attended the rally.

Jawad Fairooz and Matar Matar, who were detained in May after resigning from parliament in protest at the brutal crackdown on protests, said they had been tortured in prison.

(www.presstv.ir / 12.08.2011)